Research Catalog

Gertrude Shurr papers

Title
Gertrude Shurr papers, 1925-1992.
Author
Shurr, Gertrude.
Supplementary Content
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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Box 1 (Folders 1-46)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 1 (Folders 1-46)Offsite
Box 2 (Folders 47-63)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 2 (Folders 47-63)Offsite
Box 3 (Folders 64-78)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 3 (Folders 64-78)Offsite
Box 4 (Folders 79-108)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 4 (Folders 79-108)Offsite
Box 5 (Folders 109-121)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 5 (Folders 109-121)Offsite
Box 6 (Folders 122-141)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 6 (Folders 122-141)Offsite
Box 7 (Folders 142-150)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 7 (Folders 142-150)Offsite
Box 8 (Folders 151-167)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 8 (Folders 151-167)Offsite
Box 9 (Folders 168-179)Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 76 Box 9 (Folders 168-179)Offsite

Details

Additional Authors
Description
11.25 linear feet (9 boxes).
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Manuscripts.
  • Photographs.
Access (note)
  • Collection is available for research.
Source (note)
  • Rachel Dunaven Yocum.
Biography (note)
  • Gertrude Shurr was born in Riga, Latvia on August 13, 1903. She moved to the United States as a child, becoming a United States citizen in 1913. Shurr began her formal dance training at the Denishawn School with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Her concert career began with solo performances of the early Denishawn dances (1925-1927). She then danced with the original Humphrey-Weidman Concert Company (1927-1929). Shurr joined the Martha Graham's dance troupe in 1930, dancing many of the Graham classics during her eight years working with the choreographer. Among them was Primitive mysteries, which she helped Miss Graham recreate in 1982. In 1939 she joined with May O'Donnell, co-founding the San Francisco Dance Theatre. New York City became the home of the Shurr-O'Donnell Modern Dance Studio in 1943. Among the notable students at this studio were Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey.In the early 1940's Shurr received a bachelor's degree from San Francisco State College and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. During this period, she was a modern dance instructor at the American Negro Theatre in Harlem, New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse, and Utah State University. Like other modern dance performers, she also worked on Broadway, serving as assistant dance director for the musical Sadie Thompson in 1944 and again for Top banana in 1951. In 1949 Shurr co-authored with Rachel Yocum the book Modern dance: techniques and teaching, which documented Martha Graham's movement philosophy. From 1956 until 1973, Shurr was a modern dance instructor and also chairman of the dance department at the well-known High School of the Performing Arts. Notable students included Ben Vereen, Liza Minnelli and George de la Pena. Miss Shurr retired from active teaching to Logan, Utah in the mid 1970s. The winter months were spent in Tucson, Arizona where she served on the Arizona Commission on the Arts and as a master teacher at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Gertrude Shurr died on Jan. 2, 1992 in Tucson, Arizona.
Indexes/Finding Aids (note)
  • Finding aid available in repository and via the Internet.
Call Number
(S) *MGZMD 76
OCLC
389234244
Author
Shurr, Gertrude.
Title
Gertrude Shurr papers, 1925-1992.
Access
Collection is available for research.
Summary
Papers of the modern dancer, teacher, choreographer and writer, Gertrude Shurr, pertain to both her career and her personal life. The collection includes correspondence with major dance personalities, such as Martha Graham, May O'Donnell, Doris Humphrey, and Norman Walker, as well as correspondence from family and friends. Also included are print materials consisting of press, programs, and writings by and about Shurr and photographs of Shurr as a performer, teacher, and lecturer, as well as those of dance personalities, family members, and friends.
Biography
Gertrude Shurr was born in Riga, Latvia on August 13, 1903. She moved to the United States as a child, becoming a United States citizen in 1913. Shurr began her formal dance training at the Denishawn School with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Her concert career began with solo performances of the early Denishawn dances (1925-1927). She then danced with the original Humphrey-Weidman Concert Company (1927-1929). Shurr joined the Martha Graham's dance troupe in 1930, dancing many of the Graham classics during her eight years working with the choreographer. Among them was Primitive mysteries, which she helped Miss Graham recreate in 1982. In 1939 she joined with May O'Donnell, co-founding the San Francisco Dance Theatre. New York City became the home of the Shurr-O'Donnell Modern Dance Studio in 1943. Among the notable students at this studio were Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey.In the early 1940's Shurr received a bachelor's degree from San Francisco State College and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. During this period, she was a modern dance instructor at the American Negro Theatre in Harlem, New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse, and Utah State University. Like other modern dance performers, she also worked on Broadway, serving as assistant dance director for the musical Sadie Thompson in 1944 and again for Top banana in 1951. In 1949 Shurr co-authored with Rachel Yocum the book Modern dance: techniques and teaching, which documented Martha Graham's movement philosophy. From 1956 until 1973, Shurr was a modern dance instructor and also chairman of the dance department at the well-known High School of the Performing Arts. Notable students included Ben Vereen, Liza Minnelli and George de la Pena. Miss Shurr retired from active teaching to Logan, Utah in the mid 1970s. The winter months were spent in Tucson, Arizona where she served on the Arizona Commission on the Arts and as a master teacher at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Gertrude Shurr died on Jan. 2, 1992 in Tucson, Arizona.
Indexes
Finding aid available in repository and via the Internet.
Local Note
This collection, as originally received, consisted of 32 albums of materials compiled by donor Rachel Dunaven Yocum. Originally entitled the Gertrude Shurr scrapbooks, the materials were, in 2008-2009, re-arranged and re-housed as an archival collection.
Former call number: *MGZEB 01-8210.
Source
Gift; Rachel Dunaven Yocum.
Connect to:
Occupation
Dance teachers.
Dancers.
Added Author
Walker, Norman.
Yocum, Rachel Dunaven. Compiler
Research Call Number
(S) *MGZMD 76
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